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Political tides in Telangana

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BJP supporters celebrate the results of general elections 2024, at the party office in Hyderabad, Telangana, on June 04, 2024.

BJP supporters celebrate the results of general elections 2024, at the party office in Hyderabad, Telangana, on June 04, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AFP

The outcome of the Lok Sabha election for the 17 seats in Telangana has been a mix of sweet and sour experiences for all the major political parties.

The BJP is elated for having doubled its tally to eight seats and this has been amply rewarded with the elevation of State unit chief G. Kishan Reddy yet again as a Union Cabinet Minister. Firebrand leader and former chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar, winning his second consecutive Lok Sabha election from Karimnagar, has been appointed as Minister of State in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet.

The ruling Congress party missed out on an opportunity to continue its winning streak though its numbers had risen from three in 2019 polls to eight. It exuded confidence on crossing the double digit mark but party chief and Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy had to sweat it out in the north Telangana region against the BJP resurgence.

The Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) faced a significant setback, losing all seats and failing to retain deposits in as many as eight constituencies. This indicates that the drubbing received in the Assembly election last year winning only 39 against Congress tally of 64 is fresh in people’s minds.

The party’s strength has already come down to 38 technically with the loss of its candidate in the by-election to Secunderabad Cantonment Assembly Constituency after the tragic death of its MLA G. Lasya Nanditha. The party fielded her sibling G. Niveditha this time but she lost the election. In reality, the BRS’s numbers are down to 35 now as Danam Nagender, Kadiyam Srihari and Tellam Venkat Rao were elected on the party symbol but have already joined the ruling Congress and more could follow suit in the coming months for ‘power’.

Majlis Party chief Asaduddin Owaisi retained the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency with a margin of over three lakh votes even as his rival and political novice Madhavi Latha of the BJP caused a buzz on social media with provocative stances. Yet, it needs to stay alert as the massive outreach programme of the BJP to gain a foothold in the old city can be ignored at its own peril.

Various challenges

The Congress Party riding strong on its five months of governance needs to do some soul searching as Mr. Revanth Reddy termed the Lok Sabha polls as a ‘referendum’ for his government. The results showed it had lost the majority in 15 seats which it had won during the Assembly elections.

The government’s promise of clean, accessible governance and initiatives by the Chief Minister in the past few months did receive favourable feedback. But it seems to have faltered on the issue of handling farmers’ woes such as paddy procurement, seeds shortage and complaints of erratic power supply.

“We expected 12 seats but there was a clear transfer of BRS votes to BJP so we lost out in a few constituencies. A little more effort would have helped us win the Secunderabad and Mahabubnagar constituencies. We will now focus on strengthening the party in defeated seats,” said Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti.

The BJP partially succeeded in leveraging communal sentiments and reaped the benefits of ‘Modi magic’, winning five seats in north and central Telangana. But, in South Telangana, it was the Congress show as its candidates won by two to five lakh margins with the only exception being in Mahabubngar where BJP’s D.K. Aruna barely scraped through with 4,500 votes.

The party needs to examine and introspect whether its overt focus on religion and overt faith in turncoats has yielded results. Long time party leaders are upset but the central leadership has been giving their concerns a cold shoulder though the selection of Mr. Kishan Reddy and Mr. Sanjay Kumar has come as a soothing balm.

The BJP’s vote share has improved to 35.08% from 19.65% in 2019 while the BRS’s vote share has fallen to 16.68 % from 41.71% clearing indicating the vote transfer. Will this vote continue to stay put with the BJP is a big question.

As for the BRS, former State Planning Board vice-chairman and Karimnagar candidate B. Vinod Kumar admitted that in the fight between Congress and the BJP, the BRS had lost out. “The local bodies elections will surely show where we stand in terms of grassroots support,” he claimed.

The results have given clear lessons to all these parties to make course corrections before the next polls.



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